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Light It Up (1999)

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A group of teens are bent on improving the run-down conditions of their high-school.

Director:

Craig Bolotin

Writer:

Craig Bolotin
5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Usher Raymond ... Lester Dewitt
Forest Whitaker ... Officer Dante Jackson
Rosario Dawson ... Stephanie Williams
Robert Ri'chard ... Zacharias 'Ziggy' Malone
Judd Nelson ... Ken Knowles
Fredro Starr ... Rodney J. Templeton
Sara Gilbert ... Lynn Sabatini
Clifton Collins Jr. ... Robert 'Rivers' Tremont
Glynn Turman ... Principal Allan Armstrong
Vic Polizos ... Capt. Monroe
Vanessa Williams ... Audrey McDonald (as Vanessa L. Williams)
Gaddiel Otero Gaddiel Otero ... Arturo Orosco
Frank Dominelli Frank Dominelli ... Sgt. Tortino
Reggie Theus Reggie Theus ... Intel. Officer #1
Jennifer Say Gan ... Intel. Officer #2
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Storyline

On a winter day in a southside Queens high school, events collide and six students are suddenly in an armed standoff with the NYPD. At the school, classrooms freeze, teachers come and go, resources are scant. When a popular teacher is suspended, a few students protest. Jackson, a new security guard, gets tough. In a scuffle, Jackson's wounded with his own gun and a student takes him hostage. A few kids join in, for various reasons. An ineffective policewoman tries to mediate as the police plan an assault, the kids demand improvements to the school, the media pick up the story, and Jackson turns sympathetic. But are too many forces in motion for the students to stay in control? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

they don't want to be heroes they just want to be heard. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and violent content | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 November 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Generación perdida See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$13,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,408,613, 14 November 1999

Gross USA:

$5,985,690

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$5,985,690
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This is the second time in a movie that Forest Whitaker asks another man to help him urinate. This also occurred in The Crying Game (1992). See more »

Goofs

While the two students are sitting on the floor talking in the library, the books on the shelf change between shots. See more »

Quotes

Lester Dewitt: Assume the position!
See more »

Connections

References Hawaii Five-O (1968) See more »

Soundtracks

That's Real
Written by Bink (as Roosevelt Harrell), Beanie Sigel (as Dwight Grant), Az (as Anthony Cruz)
Performed by Az (as AZ) & Beanie Sigel
Produced by Bink for One Shot Deal Entertainment, Inc.
AZ appears courtesy of Yab Yum Records/Elektra
Beanie Sigel appears courtesy of Roc-A-Fella Records and The Island Def Jam Music Group
See more »

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User Reviews

"If this were Westchester, you'ed wait till the millenium"
7 August 2001 | by Skywalker02See all my reviews

Someone finally tells the truth.

Light it Up is the story about a group of high school kids pushed to their very witts end. First they're given a learning facility with no heat and not enough text books, then the window breaks and brings in all the cold. When their burocratic principal ignores the complaint and leaves the class taught by prof. Knowles (played by Judd Nelson) but to continute the class at a warmer and more nourishing establishment.

When the principal finds out about the last minute field trip that he allowed, he suspends Mr.Knowles. Mr.Knolwes devoted students voice their discontent for these actions and the principle continues to throw his weight around by suspending the protesting students. When the few students grow in numbers, school policeman Dante Jackson handles things his way. To make a long story short (too late) Jacksons' prejudice judgements forces the students fordge the ultimate revolt and hold Jackson hostage in the school library.

This is a film that doesn't spare any expense to tell the truth about the urban school system and youth culture. The story is powerful, provacative, and true to life. It spotlights the students using sound judgement in the face of ignorent adults.

Usher Raymond gives his best performence to date, and Rosario Dawson shows her versital talent as a character that is far different from her Valerie Brown character in "Jossie and the PussyCats"

It is unfortunate that this film came out when it did, in the mist of the Colombin massacre, or it would have been received better by the public. My only problem with this film is that it took the "Kramer vs. Kramer" route in its epiloge. I felt that this story would have made more of a public statement had it ended without the last ten minutes, but the overall presentation was still good and the message was still there.

This is a film more for the adults interest then the teens, even though teens will be eager to see Usher and Dawson. The film does have a good deal of strong language, drug-use and urban themes that under 17 viewers will need to watch with their parents.

I give this film one of my highest acclaims. It is a must see.


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